It started with lights in the sky, that's what she told me. Just lights. So at first she was entranced. It would be a while before that fascination turned to horror.
It's amazing how many old-timers you find in out-of-the-way places in and around the desert. Some are still scratching a living as farmers of one kind or another. Some are just playing out their last days.
When I get the call, it's usually women. I don't know why. Maybe they spend more time looking into the skies and hoping.
This one - we'll call her Daisy - had pigs. "Knew something was going on by the way the hogs was acting up," she told me. She lives way out to the north-east of Nevada, near where it morphs uncaringly into Utah.
It was her neighbors who called me first. I don't think they see her often, but they complained that when they did, her encounter was all Daisy could talk about. They persuaded her to call me too, and I set a date to see her.
The farm, if that's what you could call it, wasn't strong on creature comforts. This wasn't someone who spends much time lazing about making up idle fantasies, I decided.
When the hogs had started hollering, she went outside, shotgun in hand, ready to see off whatever was causing the commotion. At first she couldn't see anything. That's because she wasn't looking up. It was when her german shepherd began howling at the clouds that she finally turned her eyes to the heavens. That's when she saw the lights. "Ain't never seen no plane move that way," she said.
She told me she got bored with the lights. I didn't believe her. She went indoors and, unusually, locked the door. Then she turned in and was quickly asleep.
At some point - she has no idea how much time had passed - she realised she was not alone. She lay rigid in the bed, unable even to move her head. She felt a very strong presence nearby. What happened next took her an hour to describe to me. But I won't relate it in detail. Some of it was very personal. Some of the details seemed fantastic. And after all, neither I nor anyone else can confirm them. But in general terms, the old woman was subject to molestation, not all of which, I reckon, she found objectionable. She described small creatures, but her description kept changing and I got the impression that she started to invent details when she found me unresponsive. During these interviews I try to show as little reaction as possible, in order that I don't unwittingly guide the witness.
I wanted to post the picture I took of the woman, but the more I look at it, the more I think that her trauma and confusion might be mistaken for insanity.
The thing is, I've heard a lot of these stories, all with pretty much the same outline. But they seem to be getting more frequent, and there seems to be a rash of them in one area.
Whatever the truth of the woman's tale, there is something real behind it. And I get the feeling that, whatever it is, it is going to be revealed soon.